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Three steps to being assertive without being aggressive

Assertiveness comes from being super-confident. Aggressiveness comes from being defensive and arrogant and having a sense of entitlement. No one has the right to abuse or disrespect you in any way; however, some people are so self-centred they are unaware that they are doing something to offend you, some know exactly what they are doing and see you as a soft touch.

By being assertive, you will form strong, more mutually respectful relationships - both professionally and personally - and you will considerably raise your self-confidence.

Assertive man in blue smoke

Golden rules for assertive communication

  • Use ‘I’ statements: This is very powerful as it comes from taking responsibility for yourself and speaking merely from your personal point of view and not blaming your feelings, thoughts or opinions on others.
  • State facts, not judgements: Always label the behaviour, not the person. e.g It’s not OK for you to be unkind about my appearance.
  • Use open body language: Stand or sit straight. Your voice must be calm, gentle and firm. Make direct eye contact.

Now you know the golden rules, here are three steps to help you avoid aggressive communication:

1. Good fences make good neighbours, right?

Good boundaries give you measurable borders and do not allow others to take limitlessly - they are crucial to set and maintain. If you want to learn to stand up for yourself, you need to have boundaries. This will develop your emotional strength and build your confidence. Setting boundaries illustrates that you have self-respect and displays to others that you honour and value yourself.

2. You get to decide

Be clear about what your limits are. Perhaps you don’t approve of someone smoking in your car. Perhaps you feel it is unacceptable for others to use bad language in front of your children. Perhaps you feel that your teen is abusing your house by inviting friends over every night. Perhaps you feel it is not acceptable for your colleague to constantly help herself to your milk in the fridge without asking. Perhaps a colleague keeps dumping extra work on you and assuming you will do it.

3. Turn your thoughts around, turn your world around

If you ever feel you are overreacting, being too sensitive, behaving childishly, being a drama queen or being unreasonable, stop right there as you are not. If someone is being aggressive, manipulative, demanding, rude and arrogant, if they have expectations of you and a sense of entitlement, they don’t contribute financially and aren’t respectful to you, they put you down or jokingly show you up, they have the issue – not you!

Make it happen - Why? It's your time to shine.

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